Whatever we practice daily is either bringing us closer to who we want to be or further from that person. This happens by continually choosing behaviors that if practiced enough become habits.
Three ways to make positive habit changes in menopause will give you a great place to start! Women dealing with menopause and hormonal shifts rarely think about reaching for big goals and developing new habits. Many days they are just trying to fight off a hot flash and make sure the kids are fed.
But whether we realize it or not, each decision we make can quickly become a habit if we choose it often enough. Since these hormonal shifts are going to be around for a while, it would be very beneficial to your physical and mental well-being to look at the choices you are making.
Habits on Auto-Pilot
For obvious reasons, habits come in handy so we don’t have to think much about doing a lot of our daily tasks. Either when you brush your teeth or hair, make your bed, back your car out of the driveway, or get dressed. It would take a lot of mental energy if you had to continually decide how you should get dressed or how to operate the car when you do it every day.
It makes life much easier to create habits that leave time for us to spend on more things that matter. As a woman embarking on menopause or already there, it’s essential to incorporate healthy habits to help us through this chapter of our lives. Consider my one-on-one coaching program to uncover what you want to improve and get there with support.
Let’s Get Started Changing Habits
Creating positive habits is something we can focus on right now, and it’s easier than you think. The first suggestion I have for you is to start small. I mean very small. Let’s not get your ‘critter brain’, the part of you who doesn’t like change, all excited.
Perhaps you can add 10 grams of protein to your breakfast or lunch (nuts, turkey bacon, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, or a few eggs). Or introduce 5 minutes of meditation while asking Alexa to set the timer in the morning to keep you on track. Maybe you want to become more active. Commit to taking the stairs daily at work or find some bleachers at a local sports field. You can also promise to do 10 minutes of weights for your arms while watching television at night. Each new habit motivates you to keep going.
A second way to make sure the habit happens is to plan. Get to the supermarket on Sunday and plan your protein meals ahead of time. If you enjoy eggs, make 8 hard-boiled eggs to have one or two ready to grab and go each day. Incorporate spices into the meal when possible to make things taste more exciting. Spices that reduce inflammation are a good place to start — turmeric, ginger, and rosemary can liven up many dinner dishes. Another tip: Leave your sneakers, yoga mat, and weights where you can easily find them to remember to get active.
The third tip I have to help make a habit stick regularly is to reward yourself at the end of the week for being consistent, even if you were consistent 80% of the time. Habits you don’t even think about are driven by reward-seeking mechanisms in the brain. They are often triggered by something specific. Put a chart up on the refrigerator so you can see the progress you have made. You want your brain to be continually reminded in a positive way that what you are doing is a good thing — create new habits as you crowd out the poor habits. Many of the women I work with found this to be an essential step!
How Habits Change Your Life
Lastly, in the book “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg, the author talks about an area in our brain called the basal ganglia. This area kicks in and helps us identify the habit we’ve stored in our brain, i.e., brushing our teeth. All you need to remember is that once that habit begins, it allows the gray matter in our brain to be free to quiet itself or chase other thoughts.
It is natural for the brain to constantly be looking for ways to save effort. Let’s help it along. It’s important to recognize that the brain is quick to develop habits if we allow it to, but it’s up to you to start the positive ones in the first place. Positive habits can certainly change your life. I know they did for me as I put small ones in place until they became what helped me reach my big goals!
Reach out to me to discuss how I can further support you in your quest to get healthier!
I’m a registered nurse for over 24 years with a Masters Degree in Nursing (Education). I am also a Certified Women’s Health Coach specializing in helping women navigate changing hormones in their 30s and beyond after my own difficult experience through menopause. I believe women should truly thrive in midlife and not just survive!